Malaysia launches “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign in the face of Europe’s anti-palm oil stand

Photo: Facebook screengrab/Teresa Kok

Malaysia is understandably upset at the campaign to ban palm oil by the year 2030 since the country is the second-biggest palm oil producer in the world.

To combat this, Malaysia is rolling out a ‘Love MY Palm Oil’ campaign, one that the Prime Minister, Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohammad, is taking part in.

Teresa Kok Suh Sim, the country’s Primary Industries Minister, explained these plans in detail on Tuesday, January 8. She explained that Dr. Mahathir will be writing official letters in support of the palm oil industry, to the leaders of Norway and France protesting the ban that the European Union (EU) set against palm oil.

Bernama reports that three countries have now forbidden palm oil, namely Switzerland, France, and now, Norway.

“Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will send in Malaysia’s official protests to the French president Emmanuel Macron and the Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg concerning their countries’ plans to ban palm biodiesel,” the Minister said, adding that the letters that Dr. Mahathir writes will be published as well.

The news agency reported that Kok said that should the letters result in no actions taken by the European heads of state, the ban on palm oil would have consequences on bilateral trade relations between the EU and Malaysia.

She further said that Malaysia would not be tolerant of such a ban on palm oil.

Kok also explained the “Love MY Palm Oil” campaign, saying that “the campaign’s objective was to instill national pride and greater appreciation for Malaysian palm oil, focusing on socio-economic importance, health, nutrition, and food and non-food application.”

Dr. Mahathir is expected to launch the campaign in the first quarter of 2019. “Love MY Palm Oil” will feature activities and initiatives that will include students, professionals, members of the academe, industry stakeholders and other Malaysian citizens.

On Wednesday, media outfit Reuters reported that the palm oil industry was using strategies similar to tobacco and alcohol industries “to influence research into the health effects of its product,” according to research published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 8.

“The relationship between the palm oil and processed food industries, and the tactics they employ resembles practices adopted by the tobacco and alcohol industries. However, the palm oil industry receives comparatively little scrutiny,” the WHO report said.

“The contested nature of the evidence suggests the need for independent, comprehensive studies of the health impact of palm oil consumption…. Of major concern is the effect of exposure to particulate matter on fetal, infant and child mortality, as well as children’s cognitive, educational and economic attainment.”

The WHO study called for more research and tighter regulations on the $60 billion palm oil industry.

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Greenpeace clarifies that it fights deforestation, not palm oil

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